Tag Archives: Eric Gundrum

2 Days and a wake-up — odds

Echoing the last two years, I’ve saved the overall odds for 2 days before the event, giving everyone plenty of time to lobby, but also enough time to adjust, as needed. A few words on “odds” and scoring.

  • these “odds” are informational only, as the House is not actually taking bets. $30 covers the keg and a shirt, not a bookie fee.
  • the “odds” are on winning first place overall, not just reaching the overall podium and/or finishing the race
  • The Commissioner has reconfirmed that reaching the overall podium requires completing all four stages of the race. Appeals to The Commissioner can be made at any time

Odds of winning 1st Place Overall in the 2013 East Luray Liars Triathlon

Trophy Last Day in Virginia

Steve Otto (2012 Champion, 2009 2nd place) — 15-1: Otto flew the race at top speed in 2012, stopped only by a tree on the time trial. In 2011, the field slanted heavily towards the rock climbers and mountain bikers, stages that Otto did well in, but faced crazy steep competition. This year, Otto could medal in climbing, golf, and mountain biking. In hoops, just like last year…well…one of his teammates was on a champion team once. If he repeats his 2012 performance, minus the crash, Otto will be well-positioned for a return to the overall top 3.


JP Ratajczak (2012 2nd place overall, 2008 champion) — 10-1: JP benefits from the rules change eliminating expectations. And his 2nd place finish in 2012 makes him heavily favored this year. If his golf game hasn’t improved, but his basketball teammates continue last year’s success (2nd place in an epic final game), he should be on the podium at the end.

JP with the trophy

Eric Marshall (2012 3rd overall) — 100-1: In 2012, the odds started like this: “Here is your 2012 Easy-Money-Lock Grey Horse contender, a true mudder” and he finished 3rd, which proves these odds are somewhat based in reality.  The real world is keeping Eric off the rocks and away from golf this year, which means his medaling chances are reduced to mountain biking (easily in the top 5, not sure if he’ll crack the top 3) and basketball…where one of his teammates is a 5 time winner.

Eric Marshall and turtles

Dan Moore (2011 champion, 2008 3rd place) — 50-1: Danno remains in contention for rock climbing. His golf game still sucks and he is out of contention for mountain biking. So his chances for the podium rest with with hoops…and his teammates, as it stands now, are both roookies not known for their basketball skills. A first on the rocks, a hole-in-one (resulting in 3rd), and a miracle on the court and Danno could place again.

ELLT 2011 Danno Chistmas time

Eric Shimp (2010 champion) — 12-1: Eric has one weakness — mountain biking. With some luck (meaning mostly bad luck attached to Marshall, Lapham, and Gus) in golf and a solid hoops performance, plus a decent year on the ropes, Eric could very well medal in three events. And, for what its worth — over 5 years of competition, no racer has earned a medal in all four events. If he pulls down three stage medals, its hard to see him missing the podium again in 2013….all depends on golf…

Number 89 New York Jets

Eric Lapham (2010 2nd place) — 100-1: Eric will miss rock climbing due to injury/real-life, but should expect to medal in golf and mountain biking. If Lapham is sitting on two 1st place finishes and the next two stages produce 6 winners without another stage win…The Commissioner, The Race Director, and the head of the ELLT Competition Committee may need to have a special rules discussion regarding GC qualifications…but only if we’re looking at 2 1st place finishes and a messy rest of the field.

ELLT 2010 Lapham unhappy in second place

Steve Ball (2008 2nd place) — 25-1: Revisiting last year’s projection: “Steve’s podium finish in 2008 came from the perfect ELLT strategy: low expectations, a strong liver, and good luck.” With expectations no longer a factor, Steve’s training and actual atheltic execution become the key difference. His basketball team is intact from last year, so a little more experience may help. Cardio and strength training should help on the rocks. He will, once again, get a decent mountain bike and should be able to cut his time trial time by 75%. He will suck at golf…but medals on the rocks and bikes…and mixology skills that reduce the other racers’ skills…and maybe possibly he could be that dark horse surprise winner.

ELLT 2012 Steve Ball Nationals Fan

Steve Schukraft (2011 3rd Place) — 35-1: Steve illustrates perfectly the bias built into the stages and why the golf-and-basketball players are more heavily favored over time against the rock-climbers-and-mountain-bikers. In short, you can get better at biking and climbing more quickly than you can get better at golf (and, to a lesser degree, hoops). So if you have a decent golf game, you’re always in contention, provided you put a little time in working on cardio and some basic rock/ride techniques. Of course, the competition in golf is a bit more intense, with the elite players all very closed matched. All of which makes me think we need to consider a true golf handicap approach for 2014. But for now we have Steve Schukraft, sneaky good at rock climbing and mountain biking, but hobbled by limited golf skills and questionable basketball teammates. If the top three golfers win nothing else and the winning court trio is similarly shut out, medals in climbing and biking could propel Steve back to the podium…but those are long odds.

ELLT 2011 Post Race Steve S 3rd overall

Tom McParland (2010 3rd place) — 23-1: Tom set an impossibly high bar last year with his speech on Thursday night, labeling the rest of the field as runner-ups and making “no apologizations” for his pending abscence. So this year, the pressure is on…golf and rock climbing are a mystery as previous years give no real indications. And we should expect an outstanding time trial, but will be surprised if he overcomes his teammates at hoops. Early success on the rocks, confusion in the GC standings, and a solid time trial and he sneaks into 1st.


Mike Graf – 15-1: From last year: “Every year the Young Liars are convinced Me-Mike has a shot at 1st place overall, which means Mike is terrible at setting expectations low (at least with the younger crowd). This year, Mike’s got an improved hoops team, 4 years of experience on the rocks, and a properly-sized mountain bike. If he trims a couple minutes off his time trial and puts that length to use on the rocks…this could be Mike first trip to the overall podium.” Just needs a properly fitting helmet and we’re looking at a strong contender for 1st.

Graf before biking

Chris Doyle — 11-1: Everyone has benefitted and suffered from Steve Ball’s penchant for muddlers and the morning-after regrets, but only Chris has had his triathlon derailed by Steve Ball’s terrible sense of direction. By following Steve the wrong way on the time trial, Chris took himself out of contention on the bikes and probably used up the extra strength he needed to sink the winning shot in basketball. He has a decent shot on the rocks, could take a 3rd place in golf, should expect to be in contention on the bikes….and could very well be part of the hoops team that ends the Shimpean Dynasty. Gentlemen, your Grey Horse Lock for 2013, Chris Doyle…

ELLT 2009 Chris and Maureen post race

Jason Madden — 35-1: Jason came in 9th on the time trial last year and his basketball team won two games. In other words, he is coasting below the radar and could easily outperform last year’s personal results (although in basketball, he may be a bit more challenged). With a solid showing on the rocks and a little luck on the bike….still some long odds, considering his golf game and hoops teammates.

ELLT 2011 mountain biking Jason at rest

Chris Heffernan – 150-1: Without doing the rocks, golf, and biking Chris’ odds are substantially diminished. He is likely to have a gold medal winner on his basketball team…but….seriously…hard to see a podium finish.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Chris Chris Jason rugby

Gary Cavanaugh — 12-1: This is Gary’s year. He will compete in the first six stages (including Muddling) and is a serious contender in golf and basketball. All he needs to do is complete rock climbing and mountain biking, medal in the other two events, and he is a lock for the podium. A first in golf and hoops and he gets his first overall championship.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gary gets serious

Tom Gustafson — 100-1: Without rock climbing, Tom’s overall chances are diminished…..but…he could repeat in the green jacket and his 2012 mountain biking time was shockingly fast. If – huge if – his basketball teammates can step up and play fast, quick, high-percentage shooting hoops, he could step up to the podium. But…he’ll need extra help, especially if he falters even slightly on the golf course.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gus and Danno

Eric Gundrum — 150-1: Real-life is taking Eric away for the final three events, so he will need to win on the rocks and the golf course to reach the podium (with help), but….that seems unlikely (at least on the golf course). He has, however, provided the absolute best basketball jerseys for Team Guinness…(and I can’t find a single picture of that elusive bastard)

black and tan

John Coliano and Brecht Palombo — 150-1 (each): Rookies have traditionally done well, but those years included expectations in the scoring….so John and Brecht will have to overcome 5 years of experience and a basketball teammate prone to wandering off to the keg in mid-game.



ELLT 2013 Hoops — These are your teams

On Saturday afternoon, August 2, the following teams will take the court, order of match-ups to be determined:


Hoosiers: JP, Chris Doyle, and Mike Graf (last year’s runners-up, looking for revenge)

Team Hickory

Cubed: Steve Ball, Steve Otto, and Steve Schukraft (easily the best dressed last year, with their cool shirts)


Granite: Chris Roy, Chris Heffernan, and Danno (pound for pound, the most like their team name)

ELLT 2012 Hoops Chris Chris Jason rugby

Styx: Eric Shimp, Gary Cavanaugh, and Eric Marshall

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gary gets serious

Bill Dow’s Little Leaguers: Eric Lapham, Jason Madden, and Tom Gustafson


Guinness: Tom McParland, Eric Gundrum, and me

Tom McP and a black and tan

Please remember — all this is subject to change, as players’ schedules and/or injuries may preclude them from making the basketball stage of the race. In the event we need to mix up the teams, we will…

and a few more pictures from hoops over the years:

ELLT 2010 post-hoopsELLT 2009 Hoops - 21 yearsELLT 2009 Hoops the Steves play tightELLT 2012 Hoops Ben plays defenseELLT 2011 Ben and Eric M get ready for hoopsELLT 2009 Hoops - game-winning shotELLT 2011 Basketball JP and Eric not a foul -close upDSC02671ELLT 2009 Hoops - Gary shooting hoopsELLT 2009 Hoops Patrick with the runner off the pick

“Now Batting” “Now Pitching” music

In listening to some music while making dinner (some time back in December), I started thinking about a playlist for this year’s triathlon (top five, without even thinking hard: Gin and Juice, Redemption Song, Sweet Child O’Mine, Oh No, and Chicken Fried)(and have since posted on that subject), but that led to thinking about what song we should play as a triathlete lumbers up to the podium, like a batter stepping up to the plate or a pitcher coming out of the bullpen. Not that we’re actually going to do this, just thinking about it.

First, I had to ask myself what song I would want (other than the Washington & Lee fight song, of course). Rather than decide, I asked the kids. Owen suggested the Beastie Boys “Rhymin’ and Stealin’ (“Ali Baba and the 40 thieves”), which touches the Cheats and Liars and the Middle East parts of my soul. Maeve suggested Led Zep’s “Your Time is Gonna Come,” which gets to my hoops frustrations. Leo immediately said “Redemption Song,” the Joe Strummer version, which speaks for itself.

And for everyone else…

Gary Cavanaugh: Aqualung (Jethro Tull)…yeah, I know, he wants “Born to Run,” but he knows he is more “sitting on a park bench” than “just wrap your legs ’round these velvet rims.”

JP: Hang On, Sloopy (The McCoys and every pub band in Ohio)

Otto: The Ohio State fight song or Anchors Away

Eric Lapham: Michigan’s fight song (if he comes up right after Otto) or Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2) or Someday I Suppose (Mighty Mighty Bosstones)

Eric Shimp: Iowa fight song

Mike Graf: Wildflower (The Cult)

Chris Doyle: “My Old Kentucky Home” or something by Love Tractor, the Screaming Blue Messiahs, or the Feelies

Chris Heffernan: Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)

Steve Ball: something by Elvis, maybe “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

Chris Roy: I Get Knocked Down (aka “Tubthumping”) (Chumbawumba)

Tom McParland: I Fought the Law (The Clash)

Steve Schukraft: anything by That Petrol Emotion, Kraftwerk, or Public Image Limited…or maybe Buffet’s Margaritaville

Danno: the LumberJack Song (Monty Python)

Eric Marshall: Aces High (Iron Maiden)

Jason Madden: Remember the Name (Fort Minor)

Chris Sousa: “The Thunderer”

Ben Moeling: Oh No (Girl Talk) or maybe the original (Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”)

Eric Gundrum: Rocky Mountain High (John Denver)

Mark Olson: My Way (Sinatra, of course…or maybe Kid Rock’s “Cowboy”)

Eamonn: Semper Fidelis (Marine Corps Band)

Big Daddy: Villanova Fight Song

Any disagreements with those choices? Can’t imagine everyone isn’t happy…

(imagine the Michigan fight song blaring when you look at the picture below)

ELLT 2012: Man Down

just learned of the first ELLT 2o12 casualty: Eric Gundrum (downed by the same  cruel twist of fate as Steve Ball in 2011). While we will certainly miss Eric’s steady guidance on the mountain bikes, fashion flair on the basketball court (pic below), and sneaky strength on the rocks, what is really going to suck is not having Eric Gundrum on the Townies side for the Friday morning Roadies v Townies soccer match.


ELLT 2012 (ELLT V): 200 Days and counting


We are roughly 200 days from ELLT 2012/ELLT V (not sure which one we’re going with) and starting to think already about hoops teams. As usual, nothing is final until The Commissioner says it is and everything can change even after that….and, as usual, the Race Director can be convinced to put certain teams together, although solid arguments and bribes work best. But even with those caveats and knowing the final roster of racers will shift over the next 200 days, here are some preliminary thoughts on teams:

Team Ohio: Steve Ball, Steve Otto, and JP

Team Triton: Gary Cavanaugh, Tom McParland, Jason Madden

Team 2011: Eric Lapham, Chris Doyle, Steve Schukraft*

Team New Hampshire: Chris Heffernan, Chris Roy, Chris Sousa

Team Chicago: Eric Gundrum, Mike Graf, Eric Marshall**

Team Louney-O’Reilly: Eric Shimp, Danno, Heffernan

Suggestions, complaints, arguments about balance and fairness, bribes, and chicken sacrifices welcome. Every team has a PG (if you consider the Race Director to be a pick-up-quality PG, otherwise Team L-O’R is a little weak in that area). Every team matches up well against every other team, except Team Triton and Team Ohio (Team Triton has no one to match up with JP’s speed, although two critical factors could even things out: 1) JP will be a new father and that will easily take a half to a whole step off his game; and 2) Gary will be allowed to play shirtless in that game and that game only).

*yes, I know he made it in 2011, but he is being penalized/rewarded for missing the first three years.

** yeah, I know he probably doesn’t have a Chicago connection, but if I put him together with Eric Lapham, on a Byfield-Newbury team, they would need some serious deadweight to bring them back to close to level with the rest of us. Jason Madden, Gary Cavanaugh, and 2011 Hoops Gold Medal Winner Tom McParland  are not deadweight.

Please note: if Todd Hinnen, Tom Clavin, and returning 2nd Place Overall 2011 winner Ben Moeling make it, they will be Team Virginia.

One other idea – and this is mostly for the locals — thinking after hoops, we lower the basket and have a Young Liars dunk contest, complete with judges and rounds. Could be cool to see the kids get a chance to compete once we’re all done…

Friday Deep Smarts 7: Nightmares for Erics

I had the pleasure last night of meeting some folks for drinks and dinner at Boston’s Algonquin Club, one of those cool places that I would love to be a member of, if I actually lived in Boston and had a need for a place to take clients and friends and cheats and liars. I am hoping to be invited back for another event, in part so I can check out in detail the David Roberts prints behind the second floor bar. If I ever do open the Ball Bar one day, the only pictures on the wall will be Roberts prints and  old Rho bandit composites (borrowed from the house, of course). And the men’s room will have the daily paper stapled to the wall above the urinals. I always stay for an extra round in a place that has the courtesy to provide you a little light reading.  And speaking of light reading:

Eric Shimp’s daily walking wide-awake nightmare (and happy birthday to his oldest): Is there anything more flummoxing for the father of a daughter than attempting to help them with their hair? It seems so simplistic and yet we arrive at this position with virtually no training. Every time that I have to hurriedly do my daughter’s hair on her way out for school, she ends up looking like: a) Nick Nolte’s mugshot, or b) Every kid that has ever been shown in the background on Cops during a meth house bust. Even putting in a barrette is beyond my capabilities.

Eric Lapham’s musical nightmare: “Long gone from ol’ Kentucky, long gone, ain’t I lucky”…yeah, this song will get under your ears in a good way.

Eric Marshall’s social media nightmare (because this may suck him into Twitter): World War Two tweets from 1939…seriously, this is one of the reasons I am on Twitter, for stuff like this: Finnish children now arriving in Sweden, after being evacuated from Helsinki & other cities threatened by Soviet bombs

Speaking of Soviets and because Eric Shimp is in Geneva ushering the Soviets into the WTO: Russia, once one of the great centers of Western literature and music–the land of Turgenev and Tchaikovsky–looks increasingly like Nigeria with snow.

Eric Shimp’s basketball nightmare (that I may develop a shot like this): His step-backs hardly ever even required a fadeaway because he sold the first few steps of the drive so convincingly. The best basketball moves take on something like a personality. Hardaway’s crossover was a happy little trick. Jordan’s turnaround was imperious and taunting. Roy’s step-back combined a little of both.

Finally, an Eric-free combination of hoops and food (providing insight on being a team): you don’t just throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, then throw it on top of something, then fry it up and put it in a tortilla and put in a microwave, heat it up and give it to you and expect it to taste good. You know?

ELLT Pic of the Day (#113)

I’ve got mountain biking on my mind, maybe because the weather snapped and the bikes need to be put away until March (the picture below is from 2009)